Old-growth logs head to a mill from a Fraser River log sort. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Log exports high on agenda for B.C. NDP and forest industry

Coastal old growth not running out, logger group says

Forest industry leaders are gathering in Vancouver this week to hear from the B.C. government how it will move ahead on the province’s log export policies, after years of NDP demands while in opposition to reduce log exports in an effort to keep local sawmills going.

B.C. cabinet orders allowing logging contractors on the Central and North Coast to export up to 20 per cent of their unprocessed logs are due to expire at the end of January. It was reduced from 35 per cent by the previous B.C. Liberal government in 2013, with a portion retained to keep logging companies working in remote regions where there are few viable options for trucking to sawmills.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Doug Donaldson are expected to address the annual convention of the Truck Loggers Association, which has argued for many years that premium log export revenues are vital to keep loggers in business so they can also harvest lower-grade timber to bring to B.C. mills.

RELATED: Export laws hurt Northwest B.C. forest companies

RELATED: Winter Harbour moving from logging to tourism

Contractors are also waiting to hear recommendations from former NDP premier Dan Miller, hired by the current government last summer to find ways to help struggling logging contractors stay in business. They face high equipment costs, skilled labour shortages and movement into more remote timber cutting areas.

B.C. Interior loggers are facing sharply reduced timber harvest levels in the wake of widespread pine beetle infestations, aggravated by two straight record years for forest fire area. The combination of Interior log supply reduction and a slump in U.S. lumber prices has led to multiple sawmill closures and shift reductions in recent months.

The coastal industry, meanwhile, faces a steady stream of environmental attacks on logging of old-growth trees. This is despite the increase in protected areas that has led to a one-third drop in annual allowable cut in coastal forests since 1985.

TLA executive director Dave Elstone has been outspoken in response to urban media reports based on claims by groups such as Sierra Club B.C., which recently compared the province to Brazil in its threat to rainforest preservation.

“Through existing conservation efforts, we are never going to run out of old growth on Vancouver Island,” Elstone wrote in response to a Vancouver newspaper’s promotion of Sierra Club claims.

“In fact, it is the law in B.C. to replant and reforest with natural, indigenous species for all areas harvest on Crown land; 200 million trees are planted annually in B.C., or about three seedlings for every tree that is harvested.”

Statistics Canada reported this week that while B.C. pulp and newsprint exports rose more than 20 per cent in 2018, lumber exports dipped slightly between January and November compared to the same period in 2017.

With wood products demand slowing in China, log exports fell much more, 8.9 per cent, in the same period. Value-added wood product exports were also down 3.5 per cent, and cedar shake and shingle shipments fell by more than 21 per cent.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Kelowna man given 4 year sentence after creating pimp operation on dating site

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Recovering Kelowna addict rises above her past

Victimized by systems suppose to help, a woman tries to fix her life

Plugged in: Kelowna teen thriving with professional eSports U.S. team

Russel Van Dulken turned his love and skills of gaming into a career

Okanagan College names new fundraising director

Helen Jackman will join the college as executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation and director of advancement

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Okangan author shorlisted in B.C. historical writing competition

The BC Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded together with $2,500 to the author whose book makes the most significant contribution to the historical literature of British Columbia.

Most Read